Friday, September 3, 2010

Reorganizing the home office....again

Eating lunch while sitting in front of my home computer, listening to Miles Davis tunes from Pandora.com and reading the Wall Street Journal online is my idea of retirement. But don't assume that what I'm doing is relaxing because I'm just taking a break from the second reorganization of my home office...files, desk, even the wall art work. It's amazing what you can throw away after putting several months and a summer of contiguous vacations between you and the moment you left the full-time job. However, I have new work and new interests! Things have been getting chaotic on and around my desk. Reshuffling stacks of manila files is not an efficient way to manage time and get things done.
A new strategy starts with a question
My new strategy is centered around a single question that I asked myself this morning: What Am I Doing Right Now? Seven items got on the list:
- Writing my sixtyandsingle.com blog for women on money and retirement planning.
- Giving workshops on women and retirement. There's one coming up on Sept. 16.
- Doing weekly commentary on business and the economy for KXL-750 radio.

- Writing a book and magazine articles on women and retirement planning.
- Running my 20-acre place with horse pasture, barn and fences.
- There's my personal life: Boyfriend, children, grandchildren, aging mother, bi-polar sister and friends.
- Oh yeah, I'm figuring out how to invest my retirement nest egg for the long term. (see previous post)
Each of these categories can suck up an entire day, but the really challenging days are when  some or all of these areas over lap. That's when the top of my desk becomes cluttered and my stress level goes up. The new strategy is to create "focus centers" for each life category so that when I go to research the next topic for my blog, my radio interview or farm activity, I'll at least have all the files on that subject in one location.
Digging deep into the past
To make space for the reorganized resources I've had to dig deep, go through files from 10 years, 20 years ago then decide whether to toss them or store them elsewhere. I hate not being able to find something when I've got an idea. It's too easy to get distracted or give up. For ideas and inspiration, I searched the Internet. Here are a few tips:
No. 1 - Pack everything in your home office into boxes and move it all to another room. Then unpack one box at a time and bring back only what's important. From lifeorganizers.com.
No. 2. Throw out old papers using the question, "Do I Need This?" And "don't mix business with pleasure" in organizing your home office. Both from  ivillage.com.
No. 3. Organize your space by "frequency of use." From eHow.com.
No. 4. Make your home office a one-stop place for your business or bill-paying activities. From monkeysee.com.
No. 5. About.com offers these tips: Keep your calendar up to date, set up a routine, keep track of your time and keep to your work schedule.
By the end of today, I expect to have the bins of files around my desk off the floor and into newly created filing cabinet space. I expect to have all the materials for each focus of my life in one place and I will have thrown out all that "old paper." Thanks for listening. - Julia

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